Abdeslam arrest a 'major blow' to IS in Europe: French minister

19th March 2016, Comments 0 comments

The arrest of Salah Abdeslam, the last major suspect wanted in connection with the November Paris attacks, has dealt a "major blow" to the Islamic State group in Europe, a French minister said Saturday.

"The operations of the past week have enabled us to incapacitate several individuals who are clearly extremely dangerous and totally determined," Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said.

"We will win the war against terrorism by acting without truce or letup," he said.

Abdeslam, Europe's most wanted man who was captured in Brussels on Friday, allegedly helped plan the November 13 attacks claimed by IS in which 130 people were killed.

Cazeneuve was speaking after President Francois Hollande lead a "defence council" with key cabinet ministers and security officials to follow up on Abdeslam's arrest.

He praised the Belgian authorities for their "flawless" commitment to capturing Abdeslam as well as the "good cooperation" between France and Belgium in the affair.

A French judge placed Abdeslam under a European arrest warrant on November 24, which will facilitate his transfer to France as a standard international arrest warrant would have entailed a more cumbersome extradition process.

In the wider campaign against terrorism, Cazeneuve noted that since the start of the year, 74 people "with ties to terrorist activities have been arrested (in France), of whom 37 have been charged and 28 are in custody".

"In the face of a threat level that remains extremely high, (these results) are encouragement to pursue our efforts nonstop," he said.


© 2016 AFP

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